Thomas Jefferson Parrish

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie Crook
September 19, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 252-253
Harrison County

THOMAS JEFFERSON PARRISH. Through a life that began
the year Abraham Lincoln was first elected to the presi-
dency and came to the responsibilities of manhood more
than forty years ago, Thomas Jefferson Parrish has attained
to broad experience and successful achievement. A native
of Harrison County, he has been a farmer, merchant, tim-
ber and lumber man, and has not only attracted within
the sphere of his activities important material concerns
but has also fulfilled in generous measure the obligations
that fall upon the citizen, the home-maker and the father
of children in whose training for usefulness he has never
been remiss. Four of his sons followed the path of duty
that led them into places of danger in the great war.

Mr. Parrish was born on a farm near Wallace, Harrison
County, April 5, 1860, son of Silas Newton and Rebecca
Ann (King) Parrish, the former born in what is now
Marion County, in February, 1835, and the latter in
Greene County, Pennsylvania, March 13, 1836. The grand-
father, Richard Parrish, was born in Maryland, about 1810,
and married a Miss Tetrick, a native of West Virginia.
Mr. Parrish was an early settler in Marion County, a pros-
perous farmer and influential citizen, joined the republican
party at its organization, and he and his wife were mem-
bers of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They lived out
their lives at the old homestead, and were the parents of
fourteen children.

Silas Newton Parrish after his marriage located on a
farm in Harrison County, and in addition to farming, which
was the chief business of his long and successful career,
he had other interests, including a lumber business at
Wallace, being associated with his son, Thomas J., in that
enterprise. Silas N. Parrish died in 1915, at the age of
eighty years, and his widow died in her eighty-sixth year.
They reared three children: Thomas J., Harriet L., and
Florinda B. Florinda is now deceased. Silas Newton
Parrish was a loyal and forward looking citizen, who was
always ready to assist in progressive movements for the
benefit of his home community and county. He was an
unreserved republican, and a member of the Methodist
Episcopal Church.

On the home farm Thomas J. Parrish spent his child-
hood and early youth, attended the public schools, and
during these years he acquired a really adequate training
for a responsibility that began with manhood. He mar-
ried at the age of twenty-one, and for a number of years
following he devoted his time between farming and mer-
chandising at Wallace. While there, as an associate of his
father, he began logging some timber stocks and convert-
ing the timber into manufactured lumber. In the fall of
1894 he removed to Beverly, Randolph County, and was
engaged in the lumber business there for a time. He re-
turned to Wallace in the spring of 1897, and continued
his interests as a merchant in that community until 1910.
In the meantime, in 1908, he had established his family
home at Clarksburg, in order to give his younger children
better school advantages in the county seat.

In later years Mr. Parrish has had a wide variety of busi-
ness and financial interests. His associates appreciate his
sound judgment, his integrity and his enterprise, qualities
that have made him a welcome and valuable member of a
number of organizations. For several years he has been
interested as a producer in the oil, gas and coal industries,
and among several concerns with which he is associated
the most important are those represented and controlled
by the firm of Groves & Parrish, of which he is senior mem-
ber. He has employed his individual experience and cap-
ital in promoting the success of several financial institu-
tions. He helped organize in 1903 the Wallace Bank at
Wallace, Harrison County, and from the beginning has
been its president. He is a director and stockholder in
the Union National Bank, a stockholder in the Empire
National Bank of Clarksburg, is president and general man-
ager of the Port dark Coal Company, a director and
stockholder in the Champion Collieries Company, presi-
dent and a large stockholder in the Green River Coal Min-
ing Company of Kentucky, and vice president and a stock-
holder in the Bond County Gas Company of Greenville,

Hand in hand with the excellent success that has at-
tended his various business activities has gone the utmost
civic loyalty. In the welfare and advancement of his
home locality he has devoted twelve years to his duties
as a member of the Harrison County Board of Educa-
tion, and in 1921 he was elected a member of the Clarks-
burg City Council and has cooperated with all the plans
and measures undertaken to give the city an adequate ad-
ministration. Mr. Parrish is a republican, a member of
the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Clarksburg Country
Club the Alleghany Club, and the Cheat Mountain Club.
In Masonry he is a Knight Templar, a member of the
Commandery of Clarksburg, has attained the thirty-second
degree of the Scottish Rite, is a Mystic Shriner, and also
a, member of the Knights of Pythias.

In 1881 Mr. Parrish married Miss Mary J. Morgan,
daughter of Coleman and Rachel Morgan. She was born
in Doddridge County, was a mere girl when her parents
died, and she passed away in 1900. Of the seven chil-
dren born to Mr. and Mrs. Parrish one died in infancy,
and those who reached maturity were Raymer, Charles P.,
Roy Earl, Lester Glenn, Clair Nelson, and Wilbur Dee.
The son, Charles, died at the age of twenty-two. Boy Earl
made the supreme sacrifice while serving as a young officer
with the American Expeditionary Forces, and a special
memorial sketch of him appears above. Lester Glenn
was also in the overseas service in the army, and two
other sons, Clair N. and Wilbur Dee, were in the navy.
The oldest son, Raymer, is associated with his father in
business, giving his chief time to the Fort dark Coal Com-

Mr. Parrish in 1902 married Miss Elsie L. Deem. She
died in 1913, and is survived by one daughter, Vera